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Rumsfield and Torture Lawsuit to Proceed

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Wonder how the torture apologists will spin this case? Two American citizens were tortured after bringing forth allegations of bribery. Whistleblowers should be feted, not treated as enemy combatants. Hope Rummy has to defend his actions in open court, and soon.

Two Americans claim they were tortured by US officials after making bribery allegations

A federal judge in Chicago ruled on Friday that a lawsuit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, brought by two Americans who had worked for an Iraqi contractor, can be allowed to proceed.

In his ruling (PDF), US District Judge Wayne R. Andersen said the plaintiffs had provided enough concrete evidence of torture to allow the suit to go forward. The judge dismissed Rumsfeld’s arguments that his position near the top of the executive branch immunized him from lawsuits involving the authorization of torture

According to court documents, Nathan Ertel and Donald Vance went to Iraq in 2005 to work for an Iraqi contractor, Shield Group Security. Once there, they say they witnessed SGS employees handing money over to “Iraqi sheikhs.” After they notified two FBI agents in Baghdad and one in Chicago of what they say, they say their employer cut off their access pass to Baghdad’s Green Zone and were struck in the city’s dangerous “Red Zone.”

But the lawsuit claims things got really bad once they were “rescued” from the Red Zone by US authorities. Instead of being treated as witnesses to potential crimes, the two plaintiffs say they were told they could be classified as “enemy combatants”

[Click to continue reading Judge allows lawsuit against Rumsfeld over torture of US citizens | Raw Story]

Judge Wayne Anderson describes the details (click here for PDF version of MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER):

Plaintiffs allege that they then were taken by United States forces to the United States Embassy. Plaintiffs allege that military personnel seized all of their personal property, including their laptop computers, cellular phones, and cameras. At the Embassy, plaintiffs claim they were separated and then questioned by an FBI agent and two other persons from United States Air Force Intelligence. Plaintiffs contend that they disclosed all their knowledge of the SGS transactions and directed the officials to their laptops in which most of the information had been documented. Plaintiffs also assert that they informed the officials of their contacts with Agent Carlisle in Chicago and Agents Nagel and Treadwell in Iraq. Following these interviews, plaintiffs claim they were escorted to a trailer to sleep for two to three hours.

Next, plaintiffs claim they were awakened by several armed guards who placed them under arrest and then handcuffed and blindfolded them and pushed them into a humvee. Plaintiffs contend that they were labeled as “security internees” affiliated with SGS, some of whose members were suspected of supplying weapons to insurgents. According to plaintiffs, that information alone was sufficient, under the policies enacted by Rumsfeld and others, for the indefinite, incommunicado detention of plaintiffs without due process or access to an attorney. Plaintiffs claim to have been taken to Camp Prosperity, a United States military compound in Baghdad. There they allege they were placed in a cage, strip searched, and fingerprinted. Plaintiffs assert that they were taken to separate cells and held in solitary confinement 24 hours per day.

After approximately two days, plaintiffs claim they were shackled, blindfolded, and placed in separate humvees which took them to Camp Cropper. Again, plaintiffs allege they were strip searched and placed in solitary confinement. During this detention, plaintiffs contend that they were interrogated repeatedly by military personnel who refused to identify themselves and used physically and mentally coercive tactics during questioning. All requests for an attorney allegedly were denied.

Despicable behavior, rule of law, my ass. Just because some official asserts a suspect is an enemy combatant, does not make it so, and even enemy combatants still deserve consideration under the Geneva Convention and so forth.

Judge Anderson concludes:

In ruling that the lawsuit can go forward, Judge Andersen said the decision “represents a recognition that federal officials may not strip citizens of well settled constitutional protections against mistreatment simply because they are located in a tumultuous foreign setting.”

[via GapersBlock]

Written by Seth Anderson

March 8th, 2010 at 2:55 pm

One Response to 'Rumsfield and Torture Lawsuit to Proceed'

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  1. […] The Bush people just thought to lock everyone up first and sort it out later, while play-acting on the stage of Terrorism Theatre, but that isn’t the way the US is supposed to act. Rule of law, remember that? Not rule of gun and coercion. Donald Rumsfeld should be exported to the Pashtun region, and forced to stand trial for his war crimes. […]

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